Global Grace Day, November 9 2018: From Fear to Trust
Since 2005, we’ve celebrated Global Grace Day on the historic date of November 9—a day for opening the walls between peoples and people, for reconciliation, healing and the vision of a nonviolent world. We invite you to connect to us in prayer on this day. As we connect with the 80th anniversary of Crystal Night in Germany and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we dedicate this year’s Global Grace Day to the healing of love. Knowing that if we can leave fear behind, we can break the cycle of perpetual war and fascism.
Sabine Lichtenfels, October 25 2018
November 9: A Day of Both Violence and Yearning for Freedom
November 9 is a historic date on many levels. On the night of November 9-10 1938, which became known as the “Crystal Night,” the Nazis launched the genocide of Jews. They burned down hundreds of synagogues, killed many and deported more than 30,000 Jews to concentration camps.
Yet, the 9th of November is also a day of revolution in Germany. One hundred years ago, on November 9, 1918, the November Revolution reached its climax, when the last German emperor had to abdicate and Karl Liebknecht (unsuccessfully) proclaimed a socialist republic. On November 9, 1989, after weeks of protests in the former GDR, the Berlin Wall finally came down. That day we distributed a leaflet in Berlin with the title, “The revolution in the East must now be followed by the revolution in the West.”
We also connect with another important anniversary: On November 11, 1918 the First World War came to an end. The alleged “War to End All Wars” not only killed 20 million people, it also ushered in a new era of perpetual industrial warfare worldwide – from the battle of Verdun to the massacres of Mai Lai, Fallujah and Aleppo.
How to Overcome Violence and War?
The human longing for a truly nonviolent revolution, for peace, freedom, dignity and solidarity has not yet been fulfilled. Too powerful are the structures of imperialism, too deep is the trauma of humanity and too ignorant and oblivious have people been to the actual root causes of fascism and to the underlying cruelty of our so-called democratic societies. When we handed out our leaflets, celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, we couldn’t yet fathom how profound the system change really needed to be in order to succeed. All systems, whether capitalism, communism or socialism, have failed due to the subliminal intra- and interpersonal structures of fear, that pervade all patriarchal societies like a subtle nervous system.
On an ever-increasing scale, crises are currently culminating worldwide and are leading to dictatorships and fascist mass hypnosis. It was November 9, too, when Donald Trump celebrated his election victory (in 2016), sending shockwaves around the world. In Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, the Philippines and many other countries, authoritarian rulers are also celebrating enormous successes – and the world is helplessly watching as migrant children are being deported, minorities persecuted, dissidents jailed and killed.
In many countries, there is reason for hope, as courageous nonviolent resistance movements are rising up. However, if we don’t recognize and transform the underlying psychological and social structures that make entire nations obey authoritarian leaders; as long as we don’t acknowledge the unresolved sexual and social conflicts that could allow fascists to rise to power, we will remain victims and accomplices in a system of destruction. Our Western culture refuses to accept migrants and refugees while it destroys their home countries through weapon trade, resource exploitation and systematic impoverishment. No revolution has yet succeeded in dismantling this global system of violence.
What is Global Grace Day?
November 9 has become an annual prayer and action day for us. It’s a day that reminds us of the unsolved traumatic structures of humanity that lead to fascism. But it’s also a day of hope for a nonviolent revolution. In 2005, Benjamin von Mendelssohn and I led our first peace pilgrimage through Israel-Palestine. We sat in silent vigil at the Israeli “wall of separation”, together with Israelis, Internationals and Palestinians, to emphasize that the historical wound of the persecution of Jews in Germany still hasn’t healed. After the night vigil, a group of about 50 people made a pilgrimage through the West Bank under the banner “We refuse to be enemies.” Since then, we’ve called this day the Global Grace Day. We want to look to the wounds of history with empathy, and strengthen our decision to heal them.
“And They Knew Each Other”
This fall, Benjamin von Mendelssohn and I will travel through Germany and Switzerland to present the new book “Und sie erkannten sich. Das Ende der sexuellen Gewalt” [“And They Knew Each Other: The End of Sexual Violence,” English edition to be published next year] by Dieter Duhm and myself to the public. In our perception, the issues of truth in love, reconciliation between the genders and healing the erotic desire are deeply interconnected and at the core of global transformation.
In the book, Dieter Duhm names the connection between global warfare and the most intimate realms of our lives: “How can anyone seriously consider that liberating (sexual and emotional) love is a prerequisite for global peace? I’m aware how ideological such statements might sound to many people today. Nevertheless—the environmental crisis is the result of the inner human crisis.”
And from my part of book: “The inner human crisis is rooted in perpetual heartbreak that still determines and permeates all of human society; every office, every parliament, every family. Yet miraculously, sensual love has never fully died down. On one level, the answer to the misery of our time is very simple: it consists of awakening from the hypnosis of the patriarchal epoch and accepting the basic reality of life again.”
November 9: Join our Meditation & Envision a Healed Planet Earth
In 2007, I received the following prayer in a morning meditation in the high mountains near Mount Sinai. We want to use it again this year, as we expect a peace message to spread around the world from this special place. Wherever you are on November 9th, we invite you to connect to these words with your groups, communities, friends or alone and join us in envisioning a healed nonviolent Earth.
“Where there was pain, let healing awaken.
Where there was anger, let the power for change emerge.
Where there was fear, let safety and trust grow.
Where there were enemies, let the awakening of mutual compassion begin.
Where there was oppression, let freedom reign.
Where nations were divided, let empathy for planet earth lead to shared responsibility.
We have come as a reminder:
If we want planet earth to survive, then all the walls of separation must fall,
the walls between peoples, between Israel and Palestine, between Europe and Africa, between the so-called first and third world.
And likewise, with the walls that we have erected in our own psyches, the walls between the genders, and the walls between humans and all creatures.
We have come as a reminder of the original beauty and truth of life:
Every living being has a right to be free and to unfold,
a right to love, and a right to genuine truth and trust.
Let us set examples for overcoming violence wherever we are.
Let us stand up for life and for love so that fear can vanish on earth.
Let us form a worldwide ring of power to protect all living beings.”